The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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April 23, 2012

Constitution Team gears up for nationals

JOPLIN, Mo. — Despite the challenges faced by this year’s Constitution Team at Joplin High after the May 22 tornado, students will reprise their appearance at the “We the People” national competition in Washington D.C. later this month.  

“The tornado of last year destroyed virtually all of our resource materials,” said William Keczkemethy, the team’s coach and Joplin High teacher. “It prevented us from having our spring time meetings, it prevented our students from being able to read their We the People books over the summer and on top of that we had a number of students that had family issues going on over the summer. Where, even if they had the books, it would have been an uphill battle.”

The competition, which is held in a mock hearing format, tests students’ knowledge of the Constitution and its role as a living document, the Founding Fathers, current events and court cases. At the state competition in January, JHS students competed against eight other teams, said senior Derek Carter. Some of those teams had to win their district to compete at the state level, but Joplin didn’t. The team will represent the state of Missouri.

Students cannot be on the team more than one year. The students will have to answer different questions at the national competition than they did for state. Last year’s team won the state championship and a division of the team won the national championship with the highest score in its unit, which set a high standard for this year’s team, said senior Siri Ancha.

“I’m nervous,” she said. “But at the same time, a lot of us are in it to win it.”

COMPETITION

The We the People National Finals will be held April 27 to May 1 at the George Mason University campus and the U.S. House of Representatives hearing rooms in Washington, D.C. More than 1300 students and teachers from every state, the District of Columba and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands will attend. The program began in 1987.

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